Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

Department

Business

First Advisor

Pam Scholder Ellen

Second Advisor

M. Paula Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Sevgin Eroglu

Abstract

Despite the education efforts of health organizations, federal regulators, and food producers on the benefits and safety of food irradiation, consumers demonstrate considerable misinformation and express resistance to purchasing irradiated food or accepting irradiation as safe food technology, even though irradiation can substantially reduce the incidences of foodborne illnesses that hospitalize or kill thousands of American each year. Consumers’ resistance to food irradiation has been shown to be related to safety concerns (He et al., 2005), resistance to new food technologies in general (Zachman & Østby , 2011), and balancing risks against benefits regarding contracting bacterial illness and irradiation (Eustice & Bruhn, 2007). The objective of this study is to examine how food labeling may mitigate cognitive biases about food irradiation, leading to more accurate beliefs about food irradiation treatment and ultimately to more positive attitudes and intentions regarding irradiated food purchases. This research shows that any labeling regarding irradiation places a stigma on the product. Labels that include bias-mitigation messages have a moderate effect on consumers’ acceptance of irradiated food.

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